South East Asian Headlines & Breaking News

Sri Lanka approves visa-free entry for visitors from 7 countries

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Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has approved visa-free entry for visitors from seven countries including India, China and Russia as a pilot project until 31 March 2024, Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said.

In a tweet, he said the Cabinet has approved visa-free entry to visitors from India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand with immediate effect.

Last week, the Ministry of Tourism announced that a cabinet paper had been presented in the previous Cabinet meeting to issue free tourist visas for foreigners from five countries who come to Sri Lanka as tourists.

The cabinet paper in this regard was presented as a joint cabinet paper by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Tourism and Lands Minister Harin Fernando, Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry.

The ministry had said that it was expected to get approval in the upcoming cabinet meeting and that accordingly, it was proposed that tourists from China, Russia, India, Thailand and Indonesia be entitled for free visa.

The purpose of exempting tourists from many countries from visas is to “attract more tourists to Sri Lanka. Accordingly, it is expected to increase tourist arrivals to five million over the coming years,” the Tourism Ministry had said.

Sri Lanka is also within the 20 countries that China has announced for travel by Chinese tourists, it said.

This proposed program will save money and time spent on obtaining visas and it is expected that the tendency of foreign tourists to visit Sri Lanka will increase, the statement had said.

It is also proposed to introduce an e-ticketing system for most of the tourist sites in the country in the near future, according to the ministry.

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